Monday, December 31, 2007

The last day of the year

Last night I asked my husband to help me remember what we were thinking about last year at this time.

Although I can readily recall historical events and a laundry list of literary theories, I have trouble placing moments in my own life. I have come to discover that I live very much in the future, not much in the present and almost never in the past. Thus, if I don't make a conscious effort to remember, moments often vanish into the foggy twilight of my life's memory.

Last year at this time, my husband reminded me, he was awaiting approval from Worker's Comp for the knee reconstruction surgery that eventually allowed him to run again. Now, he's considering doing another marathon, or perhaps a half one, this coming spring at my college on the hill.

Last year at this time, he also reminded me, I had applied to several dissertation fellowships and we had great uncertainty as to where 2007 would find us: here in Ohio, Vermont, Massachusetts or New Hampshire. Thus, my husband saved up a lot of his vacation time just in case he needed to go visit me at some other state where I'd be finishing my Monster. As it turned out, we stayed here in Ohio.

Because I don't want to forget this moment (shouldn't there be great excitement and anticipation on the last day of a year?), I'm going to set down some simple wishes for 2008. Next December 31st, I'll be able to come back here and look and be reminded of what I was thinking about and wishing for.

Unlike last year, I don't have any uncertainty as to where I'll be or what job I'll be doing. When 2008 ends, I'll have finished the first semester of my first tenure-track job at my college on the hill. This year, the uncertainty is more on my husband's side because of recent changes at his work. I wish that 2008 brings quick and positive resolution to those uncertainties so that my dearest of all husbands can be content and tranquilo.

I also wish for 2008 to continue to bring health and tranquilidad to my family and to my husband's family, and to all my friends and loved ones. I wish 2008 to be more peaceful and more environmentally friendly than 2007 was. I wish for this eighth year of the 21st century to balance out more positive than negative for everyone. For there to be less war, less disease, less hunger, less violence, less pain, less cruelty, less hate, less horror, less everything-bad than in 2007 and before.

I am a true believer that we can make the future better than the past and the clean slate that each new year bestows gives me the chance to believe again.

Looking back, the years 8 have always been very significant in my life. In 1978, I crossed the gates of Harvard Yard to begin an adventure that changed my life forever. In 1988, I arrived in Puerto Rico deathly ill to embark on a survival and then a recovery process that involved learning how to walk and drive again. Ten years later, in 1998, Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Georges and after having to leave my house and husband to go do my job as city editor of the English-language newspaper (work for which the newspaper won an award), I swore off daily print journalism for good.

In 2008, I wish for continued health and to finish my Monster on time and defend, as planned, in June so that I am finally a Philosophiæ Doctor (not actually in philosophy but who's counting?) by the time summer rolls around. If I achieve this most anticipated of milestones, I might just take July and most of August off to celebrate and watch Oprah and take naps and work on a novel and read the new translation of War and Peace and learn to quilt. I haven't had a summer off since we moved here to Ohio in early 2001.

Although I can't remember much of what I'd hoped for in 2007, I know that, as of today, it wasn't a bad year at all. In fact, I have to count it among the very best for many reasons, especially because it was another year when I was healthy and tranquila (well, as tranquila as I can be, of course).

The least I can hope for 2008 if that it is as good (or better) to me and to mine and to everyone else as the year that ends tonight has been.

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Smart is as smart does

Yesterday, while I was playing with the youngest group of kids, I had a conversation with my nephew, who is all of 8 years old and thinks of himself as not being all that smart.

As four of us, including the two youngest nieces, were playing with my youngest niece's army of miniature wobbly-headed wide-eyed cats, dogs, horses, lizards, lady bugs and birds (who's brand name escapes me), and for whom she has an entire empire of houses, shops, doctors' offices, buildings, parks, etc., my nephew grumbled about something he hated.

"We should try to say we hate less things and try to say 'I love this or that' more often," I recommended, good titi that I try to be by setting the example.

"What do you you love?" I asked him, to get the process started.

"I love you!" he said immediately.

I hugged and kissed him almost to a smothering point because with my youngest nephew, as with most children that age, what they say is what they mean and they don't ever say what they don't mean.

"What do you hate?" he asked me.

I thought and thought and thought and couldn't come up with something I hated at that moment.

"Well, I hate people who hurt kids," I finally said.

"I hate bad words," he said.

"I do, too!" I agreed.

"So why do you say them?" he asked, quick to the draw.

"I don't say bad words!" I objected surprised, if a little chagrined, since I do have a reputation among my nieces and nephews for being a bit of a potty mouth.

My oldest niece is always telling the story of how I owe them more than $20 (about $1 a bad word) for all the times over the years that they've heard me involuntarily say the word shit.

"What bad word have you heard me say?" I asked, trying hard to remember whether any shits or stupids (which is a bad word in my sister's house) or anything worse had escaped my lips. But I could swear I'd behaved in a stellar manner during my short visit this time.

"You said hell," he said.

"But hell is the place where bad people go when they die!" I objected.

He thought on this a moment and he said: "Hell is a multi-meaning word."

Indeed! No doubt about it, my youngest nephew is decidedly the smartest kid his age I know. I'll just have to be even more careful now that he is not only aware that words have many different meanings but he also knows what all those different meanings are!

Maybe I can talk him into eschewing his dream of becoming a race-car driver so that he comes instead to my college on the hill to study English.

Friday, December 28, 2007

To be cherished

Today finds me visiting, for only a few days, with my entire family (sans my husband, who's doing cat-dog duty at home) at my sister's home in Maryland.

In true Puerto Rican family tradition, it's crazy and chaotic with 12 people trying to weigh in on what we might be doing next. This is a new policy implemented by my siblings, who decided that no one should have the final word in decision-making.

That policy seems to be a late declaration of independence after years of my father and/or my mother doing all the planning and making all the decisions. My mother has rallied on with the new policy admiringly, and even my father is (stunningly) going along with the flow.

Frankly, (and I guess spoken like a true older sibling) I have to say that I liked the former times much better. Being a I-don't-like-surprises kind of person, I'm not thrilled at not knowing where our posse will be going next or why. But it seems to work best for the much younger generations (especially those aged 16 to 8), who may equal us in numbers but who outnumber us in terms of energy and willingness to be excited.

For instance, tonight the posse decided to go to the movies. Then it changed its mind and decided to go home and watch DVDs. Then it changed its mind and decided that it would actually go to the movies. Then it changed its mind and decided to go home and watch DVDs. Then to go to the movies. Then to go home and watch DVDs. My oldest niece kept calling her friend, who wanted to meet up with her, and called her about five times before a final decision was ostensibly made.

"Welcome to our family," my father told my niece to tell her friend over the phone, and she did.

Despite the apparent chaos that permeates our family reunions, my heart can't help but warm at the sight of the six cousins, three on my brother's side and three on my sister's, getting along so well and enjoying each other's company so much.

That includes three teenagers who break the mold of what is traditionally expected of and evidenced by kids in that age group. Rather than sullen and apathetic, my oldest nephews and niece are fun-loving, caring and engaged.

My oldest niece takes the prize because at 13 she enjoys taking care of and playing with the younger ones, which range in ages from 10 to 8. Rather than disdaining them as uncool and uncouth, as I've heard so many teens often do, she enjoys her younger siblings and cousins. She's truly a star.

And while you'd think that with three boys and three girls from such diverse age groups you'd have a dangerous recipe for dissension and whining contests, you hardly ever hear a sí o no between them. It's truly an experience to be relished and I hope and pray that they can keep their ties strong even after they're all grown up.

Today, they had a basketball match at my sister's school's gym, and even my mother played, losing a nail de cuajo in the process. But it was a joy to see the grandchildren trying to block the grandmother's throws at the basket and their laughter ran across the largely empty school, like the ripples of stone on still water.

Of course, you won't catch me dead playing basketball (that's how much I suck at it) so my dad and I watched from the sidelines with my youngest niece, who seemed, like me, to prefer watching than playing.

My best conversations nowadays are with my youngest niece, who tonight told me the plot to the sequel to National Treasure in a breathless, wide-eyed story-telling style that had me riveted, even when I didn't really grasp what happens in the movie.

"You and her are always talking a lot," my youngest nephew observed over dinner about our conversations.

I will miss those conversations as my youngest niece becomes a teenager and then a young woman. Those are the things that are lost with the passage of time, and that's why I cherish them so much now.

"Will you play with me?" she still asks and though I've promised to do so, I haven't had the chance to make good on my promise because the posse has been busy doing other things outside the house.

But I promised her again tonight that tomorrow I will come over to her house early in the morning and play with her to her heart's content. Now age 9, she won't be asking me to play with her much longer.

I want to make one more memory that both she and I can cherish forever.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Tonight, with a full moon looking down and smiling on us, as my husband and I gave the dogs their Christmas Eve walk, I remembered an old song from childhood:

Arbolito, arbolito, cuántas cosas te pondré
quiero que seas bonito
porque al recién nacido te voy a ofrecer...

The song tells of two children who are going to the woods to cut down a little tree, which is going to be decorated with all kinds of beautiful ornaments because it will be taken as a present to the newborn Christ.

Of course, there are no tree-filled woods in the Middle East (at least that I know of). This is a song that, like the camels of the Three Kings of Orient, who were transformed into horses when the story arrived to Puerto Rico, shows how narratives retain their power and their meaning even when their contexts are radically altered.

It's a lovely song, as is the story of what this night, Nochebuena, the Good Night, represents for those who believe in such things. I know that the date itself was reportedly picked by the Vatican centuries ago to coincide with pagan celebrations so that Christianity's "take over" (so to speak) could be smoother.

Still, that doesn't diminish the beauty of the hope-filled story about a Saviour born on a night like this one.

Earlier this month, one of my best students told me how he was struggling against pessimism because there was so much wrong in the world and so much that wasn't righted and could never be made right.

"Pessimism is easy, as is giving up" I cautioned him. "It's hope and it's fighting for what is right and it's trying to make the world better even in the smallest way and it's struggling against apathy and against the impossible-to-correct that is hard. Pessimism is easy, as is giving up."

On a night like tonight, the story tellers tell of a Messiah born under the brightest star, one who would offer redemption for all those who believed; one who would die nailed to a cross so that all others could live. Nights like this are about the unassailable, the unfettered power of hope.

For those of us raised Catholic, even those who, like me, are way beyond lapsed, the beautiful stories of hope still retain their meaning and their emotional impact. If this God we were taught to believe in sent his only son to his death, even after the son begged to be spared, what won't we, mere mortals, have to endure? Oddly enough, that thought gives me strength and hope.

For good, and bad, I am a hopeful person. Even against all odds, I hope never to give up, never to give in to pessimism and self-complacency and self-absorption. I know what it feels to give in to despair and hopelessness because I crossed that threshold at least twice in my life. I have looked straight down at the abyss of No Return and know well the contours of its soul-killing depths.

Thus, on nights like tonight, Nochebuena, the Good Night, I celebrate hope. I clamor for hope and for the hard work that comes with hoping. I pray fervently for the strength and the wisdom to handle whatever comes my way. I pray humbly to always, as long as I breathe and think and feel, be guided by and fight for the hope that tomorrow will be better than today.

¡Feliz Navidad!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Cheating Santa

I'm not sure how the pudgy little girl with the large, dark eyes and the disheveled curly, raven-black hair managed it. But, somehow, for a few Christmases at least, she found the way to climb over the metal railing of the stairs in their two-story house and all the way down to the first floor.

Once there, she found herself poised in front of all the toys organized around the living room, no Santa or another soul there to witness what she was up to, except the sunlit-yellow canary who would eye her with curiosity from his tall black cage set in a corner of the dining room.

I'm not sure when, how or why the pudgy little girl came up with the idea but she did. And she must have been quite Machiavellian about this, even at that early age, because she had to be absolutely certain that no one would catch her. I know she figured that as long as no one caught her, she could cheat Santa and no one would ever know.

The only witness, said canary, was the one who sometime later died at the paws of a cunning, stray cat that somehow toppled its gigantic black cage and got a hold of the little bird. The worst part, as I remember it, is that the little girl was coming down the stairs (the same ones she'd climb down for her Christmas wee-hours crime sprees) when she noticed a very cute cat playing with a yellow ball in their dining room.

The last thing that occurred to her was that this was no innocent yellow ball but that it was her beloved canary. This was one in a succession of canaries given to her by her titi Bebi, and it was providing the cat's entertainment. I vaguely recall grand hysterics at the realization and some psychologist would certainly jot down the fact that the pudgy little girl, who eventually turned into a capable woman, never had birds as pets again, only cats.

What a psychologist would say about the Christmas wee-hours crime sprees, I'm not so sure. Because what the pudgy little girl decided once she was in front of all the toys was that she could swap those that she wasn't so happy with. All she had to do was trade those she didn't want with those she wanted, which she found in the area where her little sister's toys were arrayed. (Santa was very organized back then, leaving the toys for the each of the sisters in the identical, green velvet sofas that faced each other in the living room, and the brother's toys in the chair that sat between the sofas.)

I remember how the pudgy little girl rummaged through her sister's Barbie shoes and selected those that she liked better than the ones Santa had left for her on her sofa. She never stole, since she never took more than she replaced. In her 5- or 6-year-old mind, she simply bartered. And her sister wasn't as much a Barbie fan as she was, being more the kind of little girl who drooled over the dolls that looked like babies. But those never interested the pudgy little girl at all. Not surprisingly, the sister became a model mom while the pudgy little girl, as a woman, was happy with her cats, and later her expensive-to-maintain senile mutts.

Many years later, when she confessed the Christmas wee-hours crime sprees to her family, her sister told of how she'd always find the same ugly stuffed donkey on her sofa. Even when she hadn't asked Santa for that toy and hadn't enjoyed it the first time the ugly stuffed donkey showed up. A woman now, the little pudgy girl doesn't remember bartering any donkeys and her sister has a penchant for inventing memories, so she's not very sure about the accuracy of this report.

I'm also not sure whether the little pudgy girl had stopped believing in Santa and was using this as an opportunity to test her parents' memory and see if they would notice something amiss. Or whether she simply figured that Santa was an old, fat gringo guy with a very poor sense of fashion, who just couldn't tell which sister loved Barbies and which sister didn't really.

I do remember one time when the little pudgy girl, not so little anymore, set a trap for Santa. She had seen in a TV ad how a pair of gringo children left cookies and a glass of milk with a note for Santa, asking Santa a question. By the ad's end, Santa penned down an answer, drank the milk and ate the cookies, never forgetting to leave them tons of toys.

The little pudgy girl thought that she'd imitate the ad so she set the glass and the cookies and the note. But her actual plan was to carefully examine the response the next morning to catch them unawares and finally prove that Santa was an alias for her parents. Of course, her parents were much smarter, and the handwriting on the note was unrecognizable. The little pudgy girl could not match it to anything her parents had ever written. Oh, well, she shrugged. And gave it up.

It sure has been many moons and sunrises and hurricanes and near-death experiences since that little pudgy girl went on her Christmas wee-hours crime sprees. But Christmas still retains that joyful, glowing feeling of anticipation and mischief for her. There is no multi-colored lighted tree with a bright star on top in her living room now (not after Darwin tried to chew on the lights and Magellan made it her personal project to bat each and every ornament off the tree), especially since her husband objects to the Christmas Tree Holocaust every holiday season.

But Christmas never loses that bated-breath sense of promise and happiness that it had when she was a little pudgy girl. For that privilege, and for everything else they have ever done for her, she'll always be eternally grateful to her parents.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Before I left my college on the hill this week, I took two of my favorite students out to dinner. They happen not to be my actual students, although one of them did take a class with me earlier this year.

I met both of them through Dr. S and they quickly became two of my favorite people at the college on the hill. One, who hasn't taken a class with me and vows she never will, is going to Denmark next semester. Thus, the dinner had a little bit of the goodbye-for-now tone.

The reason why that student says she won't take a class with me, other than the fact that she might not take any more English classes period, is because it would be, in her words: "a conflict of interest." For her, any friendship between a professor and a student creates such a conflict.

And I totally agree, though I don't perceive that conflict to exist in our case because I'm not her friend. In fact, I'm not a friend to any of my students, period.

I tell every student who asks that, though friendly, friendship as I understand it (the sharing of personal situations, the relying on each other for company and solace, the absolute loyalty and honesty and hard work that friendship in my world implies) is likely not possible until they graduate and are gone from the college on the hill.

"But what if I was a student at Ohio University and I met you, would you be my friend then?" my former student asked, adding that she wanted to understand the limitations of my policy.

"No," I answered. "As long as there is any element of a student-professor relationship, I cannot be your friend. But I can offer you another relationship, that of mentor, and I think that's a very good one, too."

I told them that my advisor, who is younger than I am by several years and whom I admire immensely for helping me craft not only my Monster but also my own mind into its present scholarly mettle, told me early on that he doesn't become friends with his graduate students.

For him, friendship would get in the way of being able to tell it like it is. And he does talk tough when he needs to and I appreciate very much that he does. When things are crap, crap they must be called. I look forward to the time when, with Ph.D. in hand, I can be his friend. But for now, I like and respect our relationship very much.

Although I will always tell my friends the things they might not want to hear, I can't do so in the same way that I can tell a student why s/he is failing my class and what they need to do about it. And while I can, and will, fail a student who deserves it, I would never fail a true friend. That's not what friends do to friends in my world.

Further, and more importantly, while there should be no power differential between friends, even friends of different ages, there always exists a hierarchy between a professor and a student, even if that student is not that professor's student.

Instead of unconditional friendship, I told the students, I offer you a committed mentorship. That's OK, they both said, adding again that they just wanted to understand me.

But I have the feeling that the reason they insist on bringing up this issue may have to do with the fact that they don't see this as I do. That's alright, though, because while I can explain myself until I'm blue in the face, I'm not going to change.

I'm very wary of asymmetries in relationships where power is involved (that's why I teach about and do research on imperialism). Thus, I can't see the student-professor relation in any other way. There is a burden to friendship, of bearing the weight of my personal life, that I could not impose on a student.

In fact, I've realized that this burden of friendship I only place on very, very few people and only when it's inevitable. I've also come to realize that I wouldn't ask others to do what others, including siblings, relatives, friends, and colleagues, have felt free to ask from me. I guess that, like the possibility of friendship between students and professors, a lot has to do with age.

There comes a time, and I've been there for a while, when you don't want to depend on others as much as you did when you were younger. That's when self-reliance and the ability to solve your own problems, as difficult and complicated as they might be, become part of your personal constitution. Of what you take pride of in yourself.

Thus, (income and circumstances permitting) I don't foresee ever asking friends again to do the things I can pay someone else to do, like moving my things or cleaning my house, as I did ask them to do in the past. I work at not involving others (except my poor husband) in solving my major and even minor difficulties.

The pretty immense differential that age creates, I noted to my students as our conversation ended, means a lot more than they give it credit for. The difference of more than 25 years of life and living cannot be ignored. And that's even more so because of the difficulties and obstacles I've surmounted, many of which only my parents and my husband know about.

In some things I am pretty unchangeable. This student-professor-friendship thing is one of those. "Give it up," I told them jokingly. "This is never going to change."

I mean it. I cannot erase those 25-plus years of difference between us. And, truth be told, even if I could, I wouldn't. I like what I've learned and what I've become in that time.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I was spellbound. And, like it often happens nowadays, I deeply regretted not bringing my little digital camera with me in the car.

Driving up this morning to my college on the hill, the day was one of those rainy, cold, miserable Ohio ones that make me want to rage against the coming of winter, especially when official winter isn't even here yet.

But that all changed as I drove into the northern county where my college sits atop a considerable hill (considerable when you're going down it on a bicycle, as I've done, or coming up it jogging, as my husband has). The snow belt of Ohio, my husband calls that county.

As my car twisted and turned through the back roads that lead to my small college, I noticed something odd on the denuded trees. They all radiated white in the gray of day.

Slowly, I realized that their limbs and branches were encased in fine layers of ice, like frozen tears that transformed the homely leaf-less trees into a jewels without sparkle. I was entranced, like the time my husband took me to see the Christmas lights display at a 3,000-acre resort in West Virginia. I oohed and ahhed like I was 5 again. My husband, who claims he was born old, was largely unimpressed.

Driving through farm country today, even the barb wire on the fences shimmered encased in ice, which gave everything an other-worldly, ghostly look. I was spellbound at its beauty and I hope never to forget the sight.

Still, if I'd had my camera with me (like Dr. S used to do all the time as she drove up and down the same and other country roads) you'd be able to share the wonder. For now, you'll just have to imagine.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Flying times

I wonder if, as we grow older, time does pass more swiftly. Or does it simply seem to do so, so that we don't have time to slow down and notice how much faster we are growing so much older.

Whatever the case may be, this year has vanished with a rapidity that takes my breath, like when you miss a step but catch yourself before you fall. Where, o where, did 2007 go?

December is almost half-way through and winter has set upon Ohio early, as it's wont to do in this part of the world. This literal middle-of-nowhere where the weather is the most changeable and the most temperamental of seasons.

"In Ohio seasons are theatrical. Each one enters like a prima donna, convinced its performance is the reason the world has people in it," Toni Morrison, a native Ohioan, writes in Beloved.

I couldn't have said it better, of course. I like that about Ohio, though, it's theatricality. Still, good Caribbean-blooded woman that I am, I may have learned to appreciate winter's beauties but I will never, ever learn to appreciate the cold.

And cold it will be for a long time to come. Winter here lasts through March and early April so no matter how far I look into the future, cold is all I see for miles.

At least there are no robins around this year to cause me the same anxiety I had last year trying to make sure Mr. Robin survived the cruelest of winters in my memory. This time, the robins all flew away, as they should. That's a relief.

When I look into the past, I have to say that 2007, which only has 21 days to go in its life span, has been a wonderfully memorable one. Indeed, more memorable than most. Above all, I've had my health to face the challenges and joys that have come my way and as I leaf, mentally, through the year's pages, it's been a very good read as well.

Last Friday I taught my last class of the semester and it was a bittersweet day. Sweet, because I will appreciate and take advantage of the break from having to prepare classes and grade and build my world around my students. But this freedom also has a sharp, bitter flavor because I loved teaching that class and I loved being with those students and I had so much fun that I want to say it was the best class I've taught, ever.

But I can't trust myself on that score. Every time I teach a class I feel like it's the best one ever, so perhaps this one was just the latest in that long time of having passion for what I do and fun doing it. However, I don't think that's altogether true either. I think this class was especially special. Or at least I want to think it was.

In the next week or so, I'll take a break from going up to my college on the hill and will stay here, at home, with hubby, cats and dogs, until 2008 ushers itself in without an invitation. The expectation of a new year always has made me a little anxious because I don't know what it will bring and, as you know, I hate surprises.

But that's what a new year is, after all, a bag full of surprises. I can only hope and pray that, for all of us, the surprises are mostly on the fun side.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Brave in the snow

"You're mighty brave to be taking the dogs out in this weather," the elderly woman said as she shuffled uncertainly back to her house after checking for the newspaper. I had seen her earlier, as we passed her house, while she walked her small dog, holding on to the siding of her home for fear of slipping.

"They're old dogs but they demand their exercise, even in the snow," I explained.

"I guess that's good for them and for you," she said, smiling.

After wishing each other a good day, she shuffled uncertainly into her house and we continued on the way back here, the dogs and I barreling our way through about four inches of snow on the ground, and more falling.

This is the first major snow storm of December and the month has roared in, like a lion. So much so, that I've decided to walk to my department (less than a mile) rather than risk the barely snow-cleared roads and the steep hills all over my college on the hill in my beloved salsa red Scion.

That's another advantage of being in a residential college, although it does make the possibility that classes will be canceled almost nil. I remember how at Harvard they bragged that not even a blizzard would close down the college, and it was true. In all the years I was there, I only remember the college closing once and it was during one of the mightiest and history-making blizzards to hit the Northeast in the 1980s.

This isn't a blizzard, not even close, and it actually seems to have finally stopped snowing.

Looking outside my picture window into the woods, everything looks like a Winter Wonderland. Hot-blooded Caribbean woman that I am, I'm not sure why my soul finds such aesthetic affinity in a snow-covered landscape. But it does.

Even my Puerto Rican sato dogs don't mind the snow and walk through it like they had been doing it all their lives, which I guess is not a bad estimate since, especially in dog years, they've spent almost half their lives in Ohio already.

I've learned to live with the cold outside as long as it's warm inside. Of course, I'm greatly aided by good winter gear: a parka (my "personal flotation device" a friend once called it) that purportedly resists cold below minus 20 degrees, snow boots that are lined with fleece inside and fleece-lined, water proof gloves. The goofy red hat, made of fleece with a big fabric flower on top, may have been a lapse in fashion judgment, but it keeps my hair dry and my ears covered.

The blanket of snow creates the quietest of silences and it allows the bird calls to reverberate as if they were being sung in the most glorious opera house. There's an undeniable beauty to winter, especially when you can appreciate it without having to worry about sliding cars, slipping on ice or having to live outside in the cold.

Since I'm privileged to be in those categories, I'm going to appreciate the day to the fullest and brave the snow.